This is the month many people focus on creating gratitude in their life due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. My husband and I are no exception. Two years ago we started a Thanksgiving tradition: Our Gratitude Chain. Just as you might have done in elementary school, we create a paper chain each Thanksgiving Day.
We cut strips of paper and divide the strips so we each have about half of them. We then individually write one thing we are thankful for on each strip. Writing them individually allows us to reflect on what mattered most to us in the past year before we share our answers with each other. We take turns reading our strips out loud, providing an explanation as needed, then tape the strips into interconnected loops to make a chain.
We find some place to display our chain for the year, allowing us to look at it whenever needed. Before making our next chain, we will dismantle the current chain, rereading each strip before adding it to the collection of all our past chain pieces. It has been a great gratitude building exercise for us both. I also allows us to see some of what the other person finds valuable in life.
How amazing it will be to reread all the strips of paper in 10, 20 or 50 years from today!
Self-Coaching Activity: Make your own Gratitude Chain alone or with any significant others. Take your time as you do the activity, really appreciating the significant pieces of your past year.
Personal Stretch: Find someone you know (and trust) and offer to share your Gratitude Chain with them, especially if you do this activity alone. If it seems comfortable to do so, invite them to share anything for which they would give thanks as well.
Public Stretch: I welcome everyone to post a picture of your Gratitude Chain on our Facebook page. Just make sure you’ve “liked” the page first then upload away! I will get ours up soon, promise.
First published by Jessica Lynn Johnson in 2016 for JLJ Coaching Services, Ltd.